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Samaritans Radar App Helps ID Troubled Tweets
By: Jessica Cherok
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In the wake of tragedy, many people question whether something could have been done to avoid it. Murders, suicides, school shootings, and so on — people look back and think “what if.”

Sometimes there are no signs that someone is deeply disturbed, but sometimes there are. Social media posts gain a lot of attention, as they’re combed through to see what, if any, hint of impending violence was given. If those tweets had been seen earlier, would the tragedy have been stoppable?

A new app aims to help identify people in distress before incidents occur. Samaritans Radar is an app that looks for specific keywords and phrases to find people in crisis. Posts that say things like “help me” or “depressed,” among others.

Users can sign up with the app and receive alerts if someone in their Twitter feed has been tweeting those keywords or phrases.

Joe Ferns of Samaritans said of the app, “Imagine that a friend had posted something in the early hours of the morning, you're on the way to work or college and your Twitter feed is full of messages that are arguably less important — Samaritans Radar gives you the opportunity to see that tweet again and have it highlighted to you.”

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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